In Conversation with Alex Wisser
Alex Wisser is an artist and creative producer based in the township of Kandos in mid-western New South Wales. In 2013 he co-founded the Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival in Kandos and took up permanent residence there with his family.
Along with Cementa, Alex is a co-founder of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation where his practice continues to focus on the challenges and opportunities of making art in a regional context with a strong emphasis on socially engaged art and its ability to support cultural change.
In this conversation, Scotia and Alex discuss:
- The regenerative farming movement and how the arts can support the process of change in communities facing serious social, economic and environmental challenges to their way of life
- The capacity of art to provide non-directed space for people to gather and create social cohesion and reflection on complex issues
- The example of a solar energy farming project in the town of Little Hartley in the Blue Mountains and how the combination of arts, science and farming can provide opportunities to bridge the urban-rural divide
- A research framework that Alex is currently developing in partnership with Creative Recovery Network that aims to create a toolset for artists to better perceive the social realities of communities in which they are working
- Alex’s shift to working in a community context and how it has made his practice more embodied and connected to the world beyond traditional arts communities
In Conversation with Alex Wisser
Scotia: Hi I’m Scotia Monkivitch,
Welcome back to another episode of Creative Responders: In Conversation; our monthly interview series where we hear from people on the front lines of the arts and emergency management sector as they prepare, respond and recover from disaster.
Today we’re speaking with Alex Wisser. Alex is an artist and creative producer based in mid-western New South Wales.
In 2013 he co-founded the Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival and took up permanent residence in the township of Kandos with his family. The festival was created in response to the closing of the cement works in the town and is now embedded as a celebrated biennial event for the region.
Along with Cementa, Alex is a co-founder of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation where his practice has continued to focus on the challenges and opportunities of making art in a regional context as well as a deep investigation into socially engaged art and its ability to support cultural change.
As we’ll discuss in this conversation, a large focus of Alex’s work is within the regenerative farming movement and exploring how the arts can support the process of change in communities facing serious challenges to their way of life both socially and environmentally.
We’re really pleased to be partnering with Alex on a research framework that we also touch on in this conversation and look forward to sharing more about that with you later in the year.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with Alex Wisser
Scotia: Good morning, Alex, and welcome to our Creative Responder’s in Conversation.
Alex: Good morning. How are you?
Scotia: Good. Alex, you’re based in the town of Kandos in Midwestern New South Wales. Can you tell us a bit about Kandos and what drew you to that town?
Alex: Kandos is a it’s a cement town. It’s three and a half hours out of Sydney. It’s basically it’s a 20th century town. It’s very rare, actually. There’s only been a couple, I think, in in New South Wales and not that many across Australia. Towns that actually started in the in the 20th century. It was a company town so it was actually founded to house the workers for the cement works, the Kandos cement works. And in two thousand I believe 11, the cement works closed. And my partner and I, we did an artist residency there in 2012 with a friend of ours, Anne Finnigan, who’s an academic and an arts writer. And she bought a place and she was doing sort of informal artist residencies. And Georgie and I had come up and we did a residency there and the conversations around the closing of the cement works and what that would mean for the town. And I think we were dreaming a little bit about what an amazing place the Cement Works themselves were. And we came up with the idea of putting on a festival, which we did. And we we basically came up thinking temporarily to put on that first festival, the Cementa festival, and we never left.
Scotia: And here you are 10 years later.
Scotia: Invested in community there. Can you tell us a bit about the community of Kandos? Something about the surrounding area or the kind of challenges that are faced by communities like Kandos, both in terms of natural disaster, but also the broader impact of things like the closing of the Cement Works etc? What sort of sensibility does that give to a town like Kandos?
Alex: Yeah, so I think Kandos is actually so there’s a there’s a second small town called Rylstone, which is seven kilometres down the road, and they call them the twin towns. And their slogan is two towns, one community. And Rylstone is a 19th century town. It’s a farming community. I think it was a you know, it was where the road originally crossed the river and became a kind of a stop for the trains that came through. Yeah, sorry, the road trains. And so that town has actually has quite a distinct and different feel to Kandos, Kandos really has much more of that working class feel to it, whereas Rylstone is much more of that regional town. It’s very beautiful. It’s on a river. It’s got the sandstone buildings and the leafy streets. But it also has what I recognise as being the more insular attitude than Kandos, Kandos does have it. But there is definitely, I think, a very different feel. So and Kandos was the more welcoming I felt as well at the time. And I think that with small towns like this, especially when things get hard, they tend to hunker down and those more self isolating sort of tendencies come out where there’s more suspicion to foreigners or people that are ‘blow ins’ and stuff like that and that you recognise, whereas in Kandos I didn’t get that and it was actually quite surprising because the cement works had closed. I knew they were doing rough. And I was actually really surprised in that first residency at how sort of welcoming they were. Definitely not with open arms and it wasn’t kumbaya’s. People were they would definitely check you, but they were also very friendly and and not kind of self defensive. And so there was, I think one of the reasons why the festival was established itself successfully here was that that wasn’t a particularly sort of insular community. And to I think as well, it was vulnerable to change, definitely within the leadership of the town, there was a recognition that the town needed something to pick up after the closing of the works and the appearance of an art festival, as strange as that was, was seen by a number of those the leaders especially as a potential, you know, not not a cure all, not a silver bullet, but something that might actually sort of help. And so we got support to establish a festival from, you know, shop owners but community leaders and those sorts of people
Scotia: As a way of trying to respond to some of the social and economic decline that was occurring post the closure.
Alex: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, and then when we basically went in on that level, we made no attempt to try to win them over to what we thought was great about art or why we loved it or whatever. We just said, yeah, this will be very good for your town. We’ll be able to bring some money in and help to ameliorate the economic situation that seemed to be closing in around Kandos and Rylstone.
Scotia: So as part of that process, you are a co-founder of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, that sort of evolved over time. And you work through this organisation to try and exemplify areas of interest and specialisation around socially engaged arts and culture. Can you tell us what KSCA is and what was your motivation in forming it and what you kind of understand by socially engaged practise?
Alex: So KSCA is the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, it actually began in that very first festival. It was a part of an artwork by the artist Ian Millis, who is he was one of the founding members of conceptual art in Australia. So he’s been working in this field since the 70s and in the seventies he started to do this sort of to do socially engaged work and basically ended up he he can be a bit cagey about this, but he ended up sort of moving away from the arts and into, say, unionism and advocacy with farmers. He definitely he claims that he didn’t leave the art world, that he was still performing as an artist, but just not in the art world. And it was just a matter of circumstance, he happened to be living in Wallerawang around the time of the first festival and we were somebody turned us on to him and we got a hold.
So he did this work called Welcome to Kandos, which was a fictional tourist poster. And the poster was basically all of these amazing projects that he purported had been achieved in Kandos. So we had the largest solar farm in the southern hemisphere, the silo at the cement works had been turned into a scuba diving academy, there was a fleet of free to use plywood bicycle’s all sorts of these wonderful, amazing alternative projects that had in this alternative universe that he’d made that had been achieved. And one of those projects was a free university with the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, which is a very specific kind of understanding of art and culture as basically something that is is evolutionary, that culture changes via evolution and that we adapt our culture to changing circumstances, not through design, but through an emergent process of evolution. And the poster was a big hit. We got reported to somebody, reported it to council that we were telling lies.
Scotia: (laughing) That’s a great outcome
Alex: We were really we’re very, very proud of it. And then and then I think it was 2017, another artist, Gilbert Grace came to me and he wanted to do a work for that festival, attempting to realise one of the fantasies on the on this poster and basically this sort of idea kind of collected a number of artists around and we chose the school and we formed a co-operative. So it really emerged out of that process of bringing art out here and then suddenly we had a whole, you know, like if Cementa was the beach head, KSCA is the the army you know that goes hand in hand.
So we started doing work and predominantly what that’s been is to engage with farming communities that are attempting to transition to more sustainable farming methods. So natural sequence farming, for instance, has been a huge component of what we do. It was invented 40 minutes up the road from us. The very, very first artist I ever talk to as a member of KSCA was the son of the man who invented it. Peter Andrews invented it. Stuart Andrews is the son who had just recently purchased a property outside of Kandos and was working to regenerate that. And we basically, over the four years engaged communities in Bingara in the Capertee Valley and here in Kandos and up in Mudgee, basically attempting to take art out of its white-walled box and contribute to the cultural change that these communities are attempting to achieve.
Scotia: So the regenerative farming, all these approaches are a response to what’s happening across farming in Australia in response to drought and soil degradation and other consequences that modern farming practises and climate change are kind of spearheading at the moment. Can you maybe unpack for us or explain a little how the arts have been functioning as this tool to open conversations around these issues and how you might see it as a way of looking at supporting what is really a massive cultural change across the board for the sort of farming sector and how they are going to manage a sustainable future?
Alex: So the first thing to realise is that the cultural changes is actually predicated by material circumstances, that the ongoing droughts, the climate change, the soil degradation that’s occurring, those are having very real economic and psychological impacts on these communities. And it’s those drivers that will push your community to that point where it may change a little bit like in Kandos really, that a community has to be it has to need change. I guess what’s important to understand is that these communities, they change because the material conditions for that change become imperative. So these are communities that are suffering from drought, climate change, soil degradation. It’s affecting them. The economics of what they do are starting to really suffer, as well as all of the psychological and social impacts that occur. It’s when a community faces a situation like that, that it begins to accept the fact that that it must change. And this is very similar, I think, to what happened in Kandos when Kandos was a little bit ripe for change because it needed something. So long as all of its needs are met, it’s going to be a lot more robust in its resistance to something new coming in. And I think this is true within communities we’re dealing with is that all of these farmers are looking at these new methods and these more sustainable methods of farming because the conventional methods are no longer working for them. They’re not working economically and they’re also then causing a lot of different stress and it’s when those..
Scotia: It’s like you were saying earlier, vulnerability enables a new perspective to be open and ready.
Alex: Yeah, and I think that’s just a part of human nature. I know this, that so long as I’ve got a full set of friends, I don’t tend to make new friends. I don’t put myself out there to take the risk of meeting new people like I’ve got my mates and we all hang out together. But when I find myself in a strange city and I don’t have any friends, and I will take myself out to places where I might be uncomfortable and go meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to know. So I think it’s a relatively universal thing.
Scotia: Can you explain how maybe your engagement or your processes that you and the school are kind of looking at a function as a tool to support or engage conversation or some framing and communication of what this change is for the farming community?
Alex: Yeah, so, yeah. So I guess for me, the idea of cultural adaptation and its relationship to art. So is it basically the way it’s sort of been framed from very early on is that the role of art is to change culture, but it does so within this very sort of isolated arena that’s sort of unto itself. So it changes culture, but it changes art culture. And I think over the years that’s begun to mean less and less in terms of change in the world, which is, I think, why artists are sort of wandering out into the wilderness to see what it means to attempt to affect the world more directly. And so the way that I look at it is that, well, actually, art has a two hundred year history, modern art, has a two hundred year history of developing strategies for changing culture, for challenging convention for shifting perception for creating conversation and dialogue, and so for us, it’s been a means of or a matter of attempting to apply these strategies in a very, very different context than the one that they were developed for and seeing how we could plug in to these communities and their efforts to make change.
Scotia: So when you say not developed for, you mean taking your kind of practise into a social environment rather than a gallery environment, for example? Is that what you mean?
Alex: Yeah. So the culture of a community is very different than the culture of an art gallery or an arts community like an arts community is. Actually, it’s structured to engender change, to engender novelty, to constantly turnover and churn out new ideas and new perspectives. A community farming community especially, is actually structured to hold things in place. It’s a far more conservative culture. And so bringing these two cultures together present certain kinds of challenges. And the other thing is, is that, you know, that we realised very early on is that we don’t really know what we’re doing, which is which is for an artist, a very good thing. That’s actually where artists are most – comfortable is not the right word – but we’re most at home trying to basically to be in a strange land and attempt to come to terms with that, not knowing and to find ways through. So it was really our entire development has been a process of learning, well, yeah how can art affect our community? How can it work in these these other circumstances? Not assuming that if we just bring that because all of the self-importance of art and just drop it on some some unsuspecting community, we’re going to be benefiting them. But actually asking the hard question, well, what good are you to a community like this? And and there have been some answers that have come out of the various projects we’ve instituted. And it’s a…
Scotia: It’s a process of shifting your perspective from the purpose of the social development rather than the arts. Development becomes a process of engaging and pushing the social change.
Alex: Yeah, whereas in the art world, I think our intention is much more to create objects that that produce reflection and develop a universal conceptual takes or or present ways of understanding far broader and more abstract ideas whereas when you’re working in a community, everything’s particular. So you’re taking and you’re actually applying and and this is very anathema to a lot of artists. You’re applying it very specifically, almost in an instrumental way. I won’t say it’s it’s fully instrumental, but you’re applying it to very, very direct and immediate needs at the time. So a community might be facing a challenge and that community is basically an organic composition of the various people that happen to be to happen to compose it. And the various personalities that happen to get together are attempting to work together. And those personalities might clash or there might be a long history or a developed culture that is that generates friction and conflict within that community. Art does have an ability to produce reflection so that you can you can create a little bit of reflection so that people can maybe understand why things aren’t working very well when they attempted to address a problem collectively. And oftentimes what we’ve discovered is that it’s not that direct. We usually often what art can do is it can produce a sort of an undirected or non instrumental space for people to gather and create a social cohesion that isn’t loaded by politics or agendas or very specific ends or into where you’re going to get a lot of friction and difference between the members you actually create and get people working on something, an artistic project that doesn’t threaten anybody directly. It might address
Scotia: a safe place to unpack all the tensions that revolve around all these very real environmental situations, so could you tell us a bit about the project in Little Hartley around the solar panel technology? I think that’s a kind of interesting example of how you sort of apply this methodology, a way of engaging, creating relationships and addressing some real key issues, but also open opportunities between the urban, rural notions of practise, et cetera. And can you explain a little that project?
Alex: Yeah. So basically the Little Hartly excursion or I don’t know, it’s more than that because they’ve sort of become partners, it was actually completely accidental. So the project we were working on, we had a two year project called The Artist, The Farmer of the Scientist and walk into a bar, dot dot dot – and that was mostly engaged with the community up in Bingara. But through various connections, we got an opportunity to do a farm tour on this farm in Little Hartley in the Blue Mountains. And this was a young couple who had bought a property in the mountains and were converting, attempting to convert it to a regenerative natural sequence, farming methodologies. They were using cattle to regenerate the land and they had market gardens that they were selling into the city. And so two younger farmers who I think had gone into it with a great a great deal of idealism and then did the hard yards and found out what farming was all about, which is a lot of hard work and a lot of heartbreak. And then basically, I think just as they had begun, the drought had hit and they had slogged through that drought, you know, attempting to build dams, they built a Keyline Dam. They were doing what they could with the waterways to try to, and there was no water. And so it was very, very hard for them to continue to go on. And we happened to do a farm day at their place. We we ended up getting an audience of about 40 people from the city, came up and walked on the land with these farmers to display this project that they had developed with a scientist, a solar scientist and an artist around what they were doing. And what they were doing was creating these solar panels that would also cast shade over and protect more delicate plant life that wasn’t able to take the harsher sun of mid summer. So one of the lessons that came out of that, because I wondered about it going, what are we doing? Is this a form of tourism or are we just bringing these curious city slickers up to gape at the at the farmers? And because, like, we’ve kind of been focussing on the farmers so much and trying to find ways to support them, this broader audience, there hadn’t been a whole lot of engagement for them. And so that was kind of one of my questions. And the farmer, one of the farmers actually during the talks, she actually mentioned how how dispiriting the whole experience had been and how how it was very hard to hold on to the values and the reasoning behind why they had done it as they sort of slogged in isolation along trying to affect this change that they were attempting to affect and how validating it was to have all of these people from the city come up. As anybody who lives in the regions knows, there’s a tension between farmers and and the urban populace who basically the people in the city who the farmers look at with great suspicion from a great distance and think, oh, these city slickers, they just get their produce off the grocery store shelf and they just assume it arrives there. And then and then they tell us that we’re the ones flogging the land and that we’re and that we we need to and they have no no understanding which to some degree is true. You know, that actually people in the city have no idea of the material realities and difficulties of what it takes to actually run a farm and make a living out of it, because you have to do that if you’re going to, if it’s going to be sustainable. You have to. And farmers, that’s what farmers are concerned with. And one of the things that I think was really validating was, well, not all of these people came two and a half hours out of the city to come to this farm because they were concerned about their food security, because they were concerned about the land and they wanted to learn and to come to get into contact. And in the same breath, I think it validates for those farmers what they’re doing. There is actually a community that they are serving, even if they are disconnected. And if there’s one little moment, we’re able to kind of connect, you know, the farmer in with with the community that they are serving and that contact, that breaking down of the isolation, which, you know, that animosity builds within that isolation, people polarise when they’re separated from one another.
Scotia: It’s also that shared knowledge ensures that capacity to change, too, doesn’t it? If we’re not educating the end-user, then the developer is going to be constantly struggling. So it’s a pretty important communication loop that we can help foster.
Alex: Yeah, and I think as well, it’s one of the great frustrations of farmers is that lack of understanding that people in the city who have a lot of say in how their industry is regulated, that lack of it is a real problem. People do need to know where their food comes from and they do need to know what the costs of their food are and that if they want to make this change, that they actually have to be doing the work as well.
Scotia: Well, there’s so many things that come through your projects and your different relationships that you build. And I think what’s really clear to me is about that relational base that you’re working from. We’re working in partnership with you at the moment around a kind of framework or a research into how we might explain or conceptualise this working process or a methodology around how you would look at developing very relational rich processes or engagements that you have through your practise. Can you tell us a bit about that and maybe frame it around the River Lung project and how this became a bit of a focus in terms of developing that research framework or the methodology that we’re trying to to unpack together?
Alex: Yeah, so I guess and I know Scotia you’ve heard this before from me, but it is the one that’s most exciting for me. And this was, there was a moment there where we came to realise, you know, the original sort of impetus for this project was to be able to develop a research framework that would allow us to measure the social impacts of what we were doing so that we could communicate that to government. We could communicate it to potential collaborative partners, communities, etc. and we could use it in would be framed in a language that they would understand that it would be data, it would be when I first approached it, I was very kind of I was a little bit sceptical. I wasn’t very sceptical. I was a little sceptical of I I didn’t know how I was going to feel about it doing. I find surveys and data collection to be a relatively alienating sort of process, though I understand the necessity of it. And so there was this this moment as we were developing the framework where we kind of came up with the idea that we might actually begin not with the end user, with a creating a toolset that will allow us to communicate with the government and various agencies and et cetera, et cetera but we could create a toolset that artists could use to better perceive the social realities in which they were working. And this was something that I actually when when the idea occurred, I was like, oh, wow, that’s so valuable because when you go into a community to do one of these socially engaged projects, what you don’t know is infinite. Communities are incredibly amorphous, opaque beings, that they’re composed of various different compartments and people. There are different groups within it. And, you know, when people say, oh, well, what does the community think it’s like, well, which bit of the community are you talking to? It’s never a simple understanding. In the projects as you engage, especially because we work with very slim resources and we we don’t have heaps of time to go in and and do do all the preliminaries and and lay all the groundwork and learn all the things. We just have to go in and do the project. Often what happens is a whole lot of amazing, fascinating things arise that you will just you just sort of know to start to notice the dynamics of how this community is operating. But because you’re on the run and you’re on the fly and you’re just trying to get through your own stuff, you can’t really do anything with it. You just have to watch it go by and often times because you’re so focussed on what you’re doing, you miss it and you and you forget it, and then it’s gone. So the idea of creating a toolset that would actually allow us to stabilise our perception a little bit so and then to be able to adjust our project as we move is very exciting because that’s how art works. Like an artist in in the conventional sense, a painter will go have an idea for a painting or go to the canvas, will start trying to make that idea. And then the materiality of what they’re doing will then begin to interfere with their idea, will begin to resist that idea and they will have to change. They will have to change the project in dialogue with the subject material or medium in which they’re working. And the same thing occurs in a socially engaged work where you basically go in with an idea of what you’re going to do and how that’s going to be a great thing for everybody. And then usually, the first thing you see is that none of that’s true. That was all your assumption. And but now you have a place to start and now you can actually adapt. Now you can actually change, but you have to you know, what we miss is we miss is that framework that will allow us to stabilise our understanding a little bit and give us a little bit of a you know, you’re not just completely improvising on the spot or sticking to the original plan. You know, that you have there’s some way to negotiate.
Scotia: This flexability and fluidity and, you know, there’s so much it’s always a big issue. Certainly when we talk about disaster management, et cetera, this notion of time and how do we be flexible within a time basis. And I think a lot of what’s coming out with these conversations around the development of this methodology around how do we how we frame like a long term focus within the constraints of time that we have and what are the things that we need to be thinking about in order to be ready and prepared and open to flexibility within a very constrained process.
Alex: Yeah, and you can’t answer those questions unless you know what you’re facing, you know, unless you have an understanding of what it is that’s happening. And because communities, a community is such an opaque organism, it’s actually quite difficult. You know, people that have lived in that community for 10 years might have a better idea, but their idea also will be very much their own, very much embedded from within. I mean, part of the whole advantage of bringing in artist in from the outside is you’re bringing in autonomous observers, someone who who who isn’t entangled within all of the politics and collective culture of that community so they actually have a bit of a bit of freedom to be able to observe things in a way that that others wouldn’t or to be able to make suggestions that would have, if it came from a community member, would probably face a lot more harsh criticism and resistance. And that goes back to so Cementa I think was that was a good example of exactly this. Like Cementa, you know, happened because we weren’t from the town. You know, if I had grown up in Kandos, I don’t think I could have pulled it off and they would have been too many constraints on me, the too many responsibilities to the various people in the community. But because I was an artist who didn’t know the rules, who didn’t know the lay of the land, we could operate in a way that was somewhat autonomous to that. We had absolutely had to be incredibly careful and respectful about the boundaries that the people have and that they operate within the town. But we could actually kind of do stuff that was quite free of it as well.
Scotia: Well, it’s sort of set 10 years on now, Alex, and you’re cemented, literally, yourself into that community. So you’re in a very different place now. And that’s a much more embedded kind of relational engagement you’ve got with your town that you call your own. And now, you’re not a local yet, you haven’t been there long enough. But so what’s the difference? And what do you understand about the ongoing relationship development that you’re doing through living and being part of that community?
Alex: Yeah, so I feel a lot better accepted in the town. I have those understandings of the community having lived here in ten years. It’s interesting after what I just said.
Scotia: Has it changed people’s perspective about the work that you’re doing all the festival? I mean, you you exist beyond the festival, but it’s one aspect of what you’re working with through the Kandos community. But have you as it changed the sort of relational engagement with the work?
Alex: Yeah, I mean, I would say absolutely it has. Well, OK, first of all, like moving into the town after the first festival and the first festival was rough, but I was doing that like I think we bought some respect, like we weren’t just blowing in and blowing out again. And that was very early. I mean, this is 10 years on and it’s been the last couple of years that I kind of get the feeling that I’m accepted like the old ladies in the town will call me ‘dear’ now, and ‘love’.
Scotia: You’re an adopted son.
Alex: I think in those earlier days, it was definitely a lot more of the kind of this will be good economically, we don’t know it, it’s not us, we don’t like it to actually, you know, this is not so bad. This is kind of interesting. I had a woman from the Vinnies as I’m walking down the street, she just comes running out. She says, oh, you know, we should do we should have murals all over the town. And I was like, wow, that’s a great idea. And she then started talking to me for the next ten minutes about the ideas and and what she’d been thinking and where to be coming from. Ten years of having art in your town, you’re going to get used to it. It’s going to not seem to be such an alien artefact. It’s the boundaries between your world and its world are going to be able to melt a bit. The art space that we have, we have a cafe. It’s run by locals. And it’s basically locals are the main customer base. And it brings so we’re getting a lot of locals who normally wouldn’t have anything to do with art. And the conversations we have are invigorating, like they’re really quite, you know, very interesting what’s what’s coming out, they’re very much from, you know, from people’s own perspectives. But the great thing is, is that all of that anxiety that people have about stepping into an art gallery, not knowing what it is, I’m sure it’s still there. I won’t say it’s gone, but it’s absolutely supressed to the point where people feel free to to come up to me and talk to me about an artwork and to say what they think of it. And coming up with some really interesting things, because they’re not coming at it from the same places as everybody that’s been trained in this way of thinking is coming at it.
Scotia: Fantastic. Well, we we’re working at the moment on this research framework, we’re hoping that for the end of the year we have something structural to share with everyone. It’s been a real pleasure having our weekly conversations with you, Alex. And we look forward to continuing to work and unpack this ever changing practise really.
Alex: Yeah, no, it’s been great. It’s been awesome working with you and Jen and this has been the whole thing has been a it’s a it’s amazing if I think about the last ten years of my art career, how how much richer it’s been. You know, like it was wonderful and fascinating in the city. But, yeah, there’s just a level of I don’t want to say, you know, it feels much more embodied, like I’m more in contact with my subject material than I was when I was bumping around trying to get shows in the city. You know, like I’m sitting here thinking about the world rather than thinking just about art.
Scotia: So much to engage with, Alex. Like, if people want to follow your work or hear more about your projects, where might they find you or your information?
Alex: So the best two sites would be Cementa dotcom dot au, we keep a blog and I attempt to update it as regularly as I can. There’s also the Cementa Facebook page and Instagram, which is worth following. KSCA Land is the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation web page and that has all of those projects on there. Those are probably the two best ways of following what I’m doing.
Scotia: Fantastic. Well, thanks for joining us, Alex. And we look forward to following the journey.
Alex: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Scotia: Thanks for joining us for another episode of Creative Responders in Conversation and many thanks to Alex for making the time to speak with me.
We’ll include links to Cementa and KSCA in the show notes along with direct links to the solar project in Little Hartley.
We’ll also post the Welcome to Kandos poster by Ian Millis that Alex spoke about on our social media if you’d like to take a look at that, you can find us @ creative recovery network on instagram and facebook.
We’ll be back next month with another conversation and in the meantime, if you haven’t already caught up with the Creative Responders documentary series, you can scroll back to find those episodes at the beginning of season 2.
All our episodes are also available to stream directly from our website – creative recovery dot net dot au and that’s also where you can find transcripts for each episode and other resources relating to the topics we explore.
Creative Responders In Conversation is produced by me, Scotia Monkivitch and my Creative Recovery Network colleague, Jill Robson. Our sound engineer is Tiffany Dimmack and original music is composed by Mikey Squire. Special thanks to the team at Audiocraft.
And thank you for listening.